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New York City is an enormous city. Each of its five boroughs is the equivalent of a large city in its own right and may itself be divided into districts. These borough and district articles contain sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
New York City (also referred to as "New York", "NYC", "The Big Apple", or just "The City" by locals), is the most populous city in the United States. It lies at the mouth of the Hudson River in the southernmost part of the state, which is part of the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The city spans a land area of 305 square miles (790km²).
New York City has a population of approximately 8.2 million people. The New York Metropolitan Area, which spans lower New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, has a population of 18.7 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. As of 2014, it was one of the 15 largest metro areas in the world.
New York City is a center for media, culture, food, fashion, art, research, finance, and trade. It has one of the largest and most famous skylines on earth, dominated by the iconic Empire State Building.
New York City consists of five boroughs, which are five separate counties. Each borough has a unique culture and could be a large city in its own right. Within each borough individual neighborhoods, some several square miles in size, and others only a few blocks in size, have personalities lauded in music and film. Where you live, work, and play in New York says something to New Yorkers about who you are.
The five New York boroughs are:
New York City District Map.png
Manhattan (New York County)
The famous island between the Hudson and East Rivers, with many diverse and unique neighborhoods. Manhattan is home to the Empire State Building in Midtown, Central Park, Times Square, Wall Street, Harlem, and the trendy neighborhoods of Greenwich Village and SoHo.
Brooklyn (Kings County)
The most populous borough, and formerly a separate city. Located south and east of Manhattan across the East River. Known for artists, music venues, beaches, and Coney Island. Brooklyn is also home to the Barclays Center, an arena that hosts the Brooklyn Nets professional basketball team.
Queens (Queens County)
Located to the east of Manhattan, across the East River, and north, east, and south of Brooklyn. Queens is the home of the city's two major airports, the New York Mets professional baseball team, the United States Open Tennis Center, and New York City's second-largest Chinatown (in Flushing). With over 170 languages spoken, Queens is the most ethnically diverse region in the United States, and one of the most diverse in the world.
The Bronx (Bronx County)
Located north of Manhattan Island, the Bronx is home to the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Gardens, and the New York Yankees professional baseball team.
Staten Island (Richmond County)
A large island in New York Harbor, south of Manhattan and just across the narrow Kill Van Kull from New Jersey. Unlike the rest of New York City, Staten Island has a suburban character.
New York City is one of the global hubs of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture. Alongside London it's one of only two universally acknowledged to be "World Cities" - the most important and influential cities on Earth. It's home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theaters. Many of the world's largest corporations have their headquarters here. The headquarters of the United Nations is in New York and most countries have a consulate here. This city's influence on the globe, and all its inhabitants, is hard to overstate, as decisions made within its boundaries often have impacts and ramifications across the world.
Immigrants (and their descendants) from over 180 countries live here, making it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Travelers are attracted to New York City for its culture, energy and cosmopolitanism. English is the primary language spoken by most New Yorkers although in many communities it is common to hear other languages that are generally widely understood. In many neighborhoods, there is a large Latino/Hispanic population, and many New Yorkers speak Spanish. Most cab drivers speak either Arabic, Hindi or Bengali. There are also many neighborhoods throughout the city that have a high concentration of Chinese immigrants where Mandarin or Cantonese may be useful. In some of these neighborhoods, some locals may not speak very good English, but store owners and those who would deal frequently with tourists or visitors all will speak English.
The World Trade Center attacks of 11 September 2001 were a shared ordeal for the city's inhabitants. Despite those events, from 2003 to the present, New York City has rebounded and surpassed itself in growth. In the past 20 years, so many middle class people have moved into the city, whether from other parts of USA or the world it has changed the entire city's character. Areas that were decaying and dangerous in the 1970's and 1980's are now very expensive to live in. Times Square with all its brightness and amusement park visuals today was avoided at all costs 30 years ago. Although crime has dropped nationwide in the last 20 years, the differences in New York City are extreme. Crime is down to one third of the levels of 1989 and, considering how much the population has grown in the same years, New York City is now one of the safest large cities in America.
New York City has a humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons, with hot and humid summers (Jun-Sep), cool and dry autumns (Sep-Dec), cold winters (Dec-Mar), and wet springs (Mar-Jun). Average highs for January are around 38°F (3°C) and average highs for July are about 84°F (29°C). However, temperatures in the winter can go down to as low as 0°F (-18°C) or even lower and in the summer, temperatures can go as high as 100°F (38°C) or slightly higher. The temperature in any season is quite variable and it is not unusual to have a sunny 60°F (16°C) day in January followed by a snowy 25°F (-3°C) day. New York can also be prone to snowstorms and nor'easters (large storms similar to a tropical storm), which can dump as much as 2 feet (60cm) of snow in 24-48 hours. However, snow rarely lies more than a few days. Tropical storms can also hit New York City in the summer and early fall.
The diverse population runs the gamut from some of America's wealthiest celebrities and socialites to homeless people. There are millions of immigrants living in the city. New York's population has been diverse since the city's founding by the Dutch. Successive waves of immigration from virtually every nation in the world make New York a giant social experiment in cross-cultural harmony.
The city's ethnic heritage illuminates different neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Manhattan's Chinatown remains a vibrant center of New York City's Chinese community, though in recent years the very large Chinese community in Flushing, Queens, has rivaled if not eclipsed it in importance, and three other Chinatowns have formed in New York City: the Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park; the Elmhurst Chinatown in Queens; and the Avenue U Chinatown located in the Homecrest section of Brooklyn. Traces of the Lower East Side's once-thriving Jewish community still exist amid the newly-gentrified neighborhood's trendy restaurants and bars, but there are Chassidic communities in Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Harlem has been gentrifying and diversifying and remains a center of African-American culture in New York. East (Spanish) Harlem still justifies its reputation as a large Hispanic neighborhood. Little known to most tourists are the large Dominican neighborhoods of Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Brooklyn's Greenpoint is famous for its large and vibrant Polish community, and the Flatbush section - once home to the Brooklyn Dodgers - is today a huge and thriving Caribbean and West Indian section. Queens and Brooklyn are known for being home to many of New York's more recent immigrant groups, which since 1990 have included large numbers of Russians, Uzbeks, Nigerians, Chinese, Irish, Italian, French, Filipinos, Yugoslavians, Greeks, Indians, Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Kenyans, Arabs (from throughout the Middle East and northern Africa), Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Colombians and Jamaicans. Unlike most of the USA, New York City's Caucasian population who are native born New Yorkers are overwhelmingly descended from the previous centuries immigrants: Irish, Italian or Eastern European Jewish, a smaller percentage are Greeks, Yugoslavs, Albanians. Each of these groups have brought their cuisines with them, making NYC a city where authentic bagels, Pizza and Gyros are available everywhere. An important change has been taking place in the population recently. During the last 2 decades and especially since 2003, large numbers of young people, many of them recent college graduates and professionals from the rest of the USA have moved to New York City, mostly to Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the parts of Queens closest to Manhattan. They have changed things considerably and continue to add to New York's vitality and artistic output. They have completely changed their neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan, such as Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Lower East side, Manhattan. One important thing to note about New York City, is its never-ending change, new stores, businesses, buildings and even skyscrapers replace the previous structures, there is always new construction. Photographs of the same busy street 10 or 20 years ago are unrecognizable today.
New York City is home to 46 Fortune 500 companies. Its 2009 gross metropolitan product of $1.265 trillion was the largest of any American city and represented approximately 9% of the American economy. If it were a nation, the city would have the 16th-highest GDP in the world. New York's constantly expanding economy is the main reason why millions have immigrated to the city, from all over the world and all over the country over the past 2 centuries of the city's growth.
New York is the national center for several industries. It's the home of the two largest US stock exchanges (NYSE, NASDAQ) and many banks. The famous Wall Street is where the New York Stock Exchange (NYSC) is as well as the famous (or infamous) investment banks and financial investment firms. Wall Street is located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan.
IATA: NYC is the code for all New York City airports, and the city is extremely well connected by air with flights from almost every corner of the world. Three large airports, and several small ones, serve the region.
John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport (the latter in New Jersey) are large international airports, while LaGuardia Airport is a busy domestic airport. All three airports are run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
John F. Kennedy International Airport
(JFK) is in the borough of Queens. There are eight terminals that are not very close to each other (with two that are to be demolished and soon rebuilt), so it is important to note which terminal your flight leaves from. AirTrain connects the terminals - note that it is only free if you are traveling between terminals; to either terminus, the fare is $5. There is Wi-Fi via Boingo, which is sometimes considered not reliable; however, Terminal 5 has free Wi-Fi.
JFK AirTrain - a people mover system that runs 24/7, connecting all airport terminals with nearby rail and metro stations for $5 plus $1 for MetroCard . Runs services to:
Howard Beach Station to connect with the "A" train (to Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan). When returning to the airport on the "A" train, be sure to board a train to Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park, NOT to Lefferts Blvd. Look for this destination sign on the side of the train as many tourists often mistakenly take the Lefferts Blvd train when not paying attention.
Jamaica Station to connect with the:
"E" train (to Queens and Midtown Manhattan)
"J/Z" trains (to Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan). Marginally faster, and much less crowded, than the "E". Note that during rush hours, the "J" and "Z" operate a skip-stop service, bypassing alternate stations between Manhattan and Queens.
Get around in NY
Most of NYC is laid out in a grid. By convention, Manhattan is spoken of as if it runs north to south (it's actually northeast to southwest), with streets running east and west and avenues running north and south. This makes it relatively easy and straightforward to find your way. Streets are numbered (except in downtown Manhattan) and the numbering rises as you go north. Most avenues are numbered from east to west (so First Ave is east of Second, etc.) below 59th St. Building numbering on avenues starts at the south end of the avenue and rises as you move north, while building numbering on streets starts at Fifth Ave (for the most part - see below) and increases as you go east or west crosstown.
Above Washington Sq, Fifth Ave divides Manhattan into east and west; numbering starts at Fifth Ave on each side (except where Central Park interrupts) and increases in either direction. Addresses west of Fifth Ave are written as, for example, 220 W 34th St, while those east of Fifth Ave are written as 220 E 34th St. However, for numbered streets below Washington Sq (fortunately, there are only two, 3rd and 4th streets), Broadway divides the streets into East and West. Because of this dual-numbering system, it is always advisable to keep in mind the closest intersection to your destination (6th Ave and 34th St, Broadway and 51st, etc.). You might also see addresses written in a kind of shorthand in terms of the nearest crossing streets, for example "1755 Broadway b/w 56th & 57th" or "74 E. 4th b/w 2nd & Bowery." - along with the terms "uptown" and "downtown", this shorthand is almost a New York language which most visitors soon learn surreptitiously and start speaking themselves! In Greenwich Village and downtown Manhattan - generally considered as below Houston St ("HOW-ston") - all bets are off as streets meander, dead-end and intersect themselves. Streets in Greenwich Village are particularly notorious for defying logic. For instance, West 4th St intersects with West 10th St and West 12th St, and you can stand on the corner of Waverly Place and Waverly Place!
As a convenient guide to distance, there are 20 blocks per mile along the avenues (walking north/south). The average person can walk roughly 1 block per minute, or 60 blocks (3 mi) per hour. Walking east/west on the streets, blocks are generally much longer.
In Queens, avenues, roads, and drives generally run east/west and increase numerically as you proceed south. Streets run north/south. Queens and Northern Blvds run east/west.
The Bronx is a continuation of the Manhattan street numbers. 3rd Ave is the only numbered avenue in the Bronx.
For shorter distances, there is no better way of getting around New York than hitting the sidewalk. If you use the subway or buses, you will almost certainly need to walk to and from stations or stops. In all areas of New York a traveler is likely to visit, all streets have wide, smoothly-paved sidewalks. For long distances, walking is also fine and a great way to see the city.
Public Transit - Buses and subways
To ride the buses and subways in NYC it's most likely you'll need a MetroCard from The Metropolitan Transit Authority or MTA for use on the New York City bus and subway systems. While it is possible to pay bus fares using exact change (coins only), you must have a MetroCard to enter the subway system. Cards can be bought online, at station booths, at vending machines in subway stations, and at many grocery stores and newstands (look for a MetroCard sign on the store window). The vending machines in the stations accept credit cards; however, MetroCard vending machines will require that you type in your 5-digit zip code, or your regular PIN on international cards. There is a $1 fee for a new MetroCard due to recent fare hikes.
The PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) subway system, which operates between New York and New Jersey, is not operated by the MTA and is therefore separate but with the same fare as the MTA. In addition, if you buy a new Metrocard in any PATH Station The $1 Fee also applies to all Metrocard Vending machines in all PATH Stations including station/commuter rail booths. Even though PATH accepts payment by MetroCard, no free transfers are available to or from MTA subways or buses, because PATH is separate. JFK AirTrain also accepts MetroCard, but again, is not operated by the MTA and no free transfers are available.
Despite a (somewhat deserved) reputation for being dirty, the subway, which operates 24/7, is the fastest and best way to travel around the city. Fares are $2.75 (unless you use Single Ride MetroCard, which is $3.00), regardless of distance traveled. The much-feared subway crimes of the 1970s and 1980s are for the most part a thing of the past, and it is almost always completely safe. Just remember to use common sense when traveling late at night alone. Try to use heavily-traveled stations, remain visible to other people, and don't display items of value publicly. While violent crime is rare, petty crime - especially theft of iPhones and other expensive electronics - is more frequent, so be aware when using your phone on the train. Also, beware that hundreds of people have been arrested for putting their feet on a Subway seat or sitting improperly on a subway seat. Seven years ago, rule 1050(7)(J) of the city’s transit code criminalized what was once simply selfish behavior, such as standing too close to the doors. About 1,600 people were arrested in 2011 and had to wait long periods before seeing a judge and being sentenced.
Like most of the great world cities, New York has an abundance of great attractions - so many, that it would be impossible to list them all here. What follows is but a sampling of the most high-profile attractions in New York City; more detailed info can be found in the district pages.
Many tourist attractions in New York City offer free or discounted admission on certain days, eg Museum of Modern Art's Free Friday, or Museums on Us® program by Bank of America.
A number of multi-attraction schemes give reduced prices and line-skipping privileges:
Explorer Pass allows you to choose 7, 5 or 3 top attractions to visit. Cardholders have 30 days to use the card after visiting the first attraction. Attractions to choose from include Top of the Rock Observation, Rockefeller Center Tour, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NBC Studio Tour, movie tours, cruises, and more. Also included with the card are shopping, dining, and additional attraction discounts.
New York CityPASS grants admission to 6 New York attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate. The attractions are Empire State Building; Metropolitan Museum of Art and same-day admission to The Cloisters; American Museum of Natural History; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Option Ticket One with choice of either Top of the Rock™ Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum; Option Ticket Two with choice of either a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise or Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. $106 adult, $79 youth aged 6–17.
New York Pass. Grants access to over 50 top attractions with line skipping privileges. Passes are available for 1 day ($80 adult, $60 child), 2 days ($130 adult, $110 child), 3 days ($140 adult, $120 child) or 7 days ($180 adult, $140 child). Remember, you must obtain a ticket in each attraction. You can visit as many attractions as you want in the time period - the more attractions you visit, the more you save. Also includes a free 140 page guide book, but is much better to organize your visits previously, via internet.
Naturally, Manhattan possesses the lion's share of the landmarks that have saturated American popular culture. Starting in Lower Manhattan, perhaps the most famous of these landmarks is easy to spot - the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the nation standing atop a small island in the harbor, and perhaps also the most difficult attraction to access in terms of crowds and the long lines to see it. Nearby Ellis Island preserves the site where millions of immigrants completed their journey to America. Within Lower Manhattan itself, Wall Street acts as the heart of big business being the home of the New York Stock Exchange, although the narrow street also holds some historical attractions, namely Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States. Nearby, the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Site commemorates the victims of that fateful day. The 1776 foot tall One World Trade Center is the spiritual successor to the fallen Twin Towers and is now the tallest skyscraper in both New York and the United States. Connecting Lower Manhattan to Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge offers fantastic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
Moving north to Midtown, Manhattan's other major business district, you'll find some of New York's most famous landmarks. The Empire State Building looms over it all as the second-tallest building in the city, with the nearby Chrysler Building also dominating the landscape. Nearby is the headquarters of United Nations overlooking the East River and Grand Central Terminal, one of the busiest train stations in the world. Also nearby is the main branch of the New York Public Library, a beautiful building famous for its magnificent reading rooms and the lion statues outside the front door; and Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and (during the winter) the famous Christmas Tree and Skating Rink.
Still in the Midtown area but just to the west, in the Theater District, is the tourist center of New York: Times Square, filled with bright, flashing video screens and LED signs running 24 hours a day. Just to the north is Central Park, with its lawns, trees and lakes popular for recreation and concerts.
Museums and galleries
New York has some of the finest museums in the world. All the public museums (notably including the Metropolitan Museum), which are run by the city, accept donations for an entrance fee, but private museums (especially the Museum of Modern Art) can be very expensive. In addition to the major museums, hundreds of small galleries are spread throughout the city, notably in neighborhoods like Chelsea and Williamsburg. Many galleries and museums in New York close on Mondays, so be sure to check hours before visiting.
The following is just a list of highlights; see district pages for more listings.
Arts and culture
New York City is home to some of the finest art museums in the country, and in Manhattan, you'll find the grandest of them all. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park has vast holdings that represent a series of collections, each of which ranks in its category among the finest in the world. Within this single building you'll find perhaps the world's finest collection of American artwork, period rooms, thousands of European paintings including Rembrandts and Vermeers, the greatest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo, one of the world's finest Islamic art collections, Asian art, European sculpture, medieval and Renaissance art, antiquities from around the ancient world, and much, much more. As if all that wasn't enough, the Metropolitan also operates The Cloisters, located in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, houses a collection of medieval art and incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters and other monastic sites in southern France in its renowned gardens.
Near the Metropolitan, in the Upper East Side, is the Guggenheim Museum. Although more famed for its architecture than the collection it hosts, the spiraling galleries are ideal for exhibiting art works. Also nearby is the Whitney Museum of American Art, with a collection of contemporary American art. In Midtown, the Museum of Modern Art(MoMA), holds the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world, and is so large as to require multiple visits to see all of the works on display, which include Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, as well as an extensive industrial design collection. Midtown is also home to the Paley Center for Media, a museum dedicated to television and radio, including a massive database of old shows. Unknown to some Harlem, previously known as the black mecca of the Americas, is the home of important landmarks of New York City such as the Apollo Theater and 125th. You will also find the Studio Museum and contemporary art galleries such as Tatiana Pagés Gallery.
In Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum of Art is the city's second largest art museum with excellent collections of Egyptian art, Assyrian reliefs, 19th-century American art, and art from Africa and Oceania, among other things. Long Island City in Queens is home to a number of art museums, including the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of the Moving Image, which showcases movies and the televisual arts.
Science and technology
In New York City, no museum holds a sway over children like the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Containing the Hayden Planetarium, incredible astronomy exhibits, animal dioramas, many rare and beautiful gems and mineral specimens, anthropology halls, and one of the largest collections of dinosaur skeletons in the world, this place offers plenty of stunning sights.
Near Times Square in the Theater District, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum takes up a pier on the Hudson River, with the aircraft carrier Intrepid docked here and holding some incredible air and space craft.
Over in the Flushing district of Queens, on the grounds of the former World's Fair, is the New York Hall of Science, which incorporates the Great Hall of the fair and now full of hands-on exhibits for kids to enjoy.
Another standout museum is the Transit Museum located in an abandoned station in Downtown Brooklyn. The old subway cars are a real treat and the museum is a must if you're in New York with kids (and well-worth it even if you're not).
Though the image many people have of Manhattan is endless skyscrapers and packed sidewalks, the city also boasts numerous lovely parks, ranging from small squares to the 850-acre Central Park, and there are worthwhile parks in every borough. From the views of the New Jersey Palisades from Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, to the grand Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx, and the famous Flushing Meadow Park in Corona, Queens, site of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, there is more than enough to keep any visitor busy. And almost any park is a great spot to rest, read, or just relax and watch the people streaming past. To find out more about New York City parks, look at the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website and the WikiTravel pages for each borough.
Note that except for special events, all NYC parks are closed 1AM–6AM. Also, as a reminder to youngsters, it is illegal to climb trees in the park in New York City.
What to do
A general word of advice on sightseeing in New York:
Tourists often spend their entire vacation in New York standing in line (or as New Yorkers say, "standing on line"). This is often unnecessary; there are usually alternatives. For example, one can choose to avoid the Empire State Building during the day (it is open, and empty, late, until midnight or 2AM on weekends during summer), skip the Statue of Liberty in favor of the Staten Island Ferry, and stay away from the Guggenheim on Monday (it is one of the only museums open that day). Also, there is no reason to stand in line for a Broadway show if you already have a ticket with an assigned seat. If you prefer, get a drink nearby and come back closer to curtain time, when you can walk right in. The lines for bus tours can be absurd because tourists all seem to have the exact same itinerary - which is get on a bus in the morning in Times Square, get off for the Statue of Liberty, and finish on the East Side in the afternoon. Why not go downtown in the morning, and save Midtown for the afternoon? You will thank yourself for avoiding the crowds. Also, understand that buses are the slowest way to go crosstown in Midtown Manhattan during peak hours, and taxis are not much better. You are often better off either on foot or taking the subway.
New York is arguably the fashion capital of the United States, and is a major shopping destination for people around the world. The city boasts an unmatched range of department stores, boutiques, and specialty shops. Some neighborhoods boast more shopping options than most other American cities and have become famous as consumer destinations. Anything you could possibly want to buy can be found in New York, including clothing, cameras, computers and accessories, music, musical instruments, electronic equipment, art supplies, sporting goods, and all kinds of foodstuffs and kitchen appliances.
In New York City it is common for street vendors to set up tables on the sidewalk, close to the curb, and sell items. They are required to obtain a permit to perform this activity, but it is legal. Purchasing from these vendors is generally legitimate, although buying brand name goods from these vendors (particularly expensive clothing and movies) is ill advised as the products being sold may be cheap imitation products. It is considered safe to buy less expensive goods from these vendors, but most will not accept payment by credit card, so you will have to bring money. Be particularly wary of any street vendor that does not sell from a table (especially vendors who approach you with their merchandise in a briefcase) as these goods are almost certainly cheap imitation products.
New York has, as you might expect of the Big Apple, all the eating options covered and you can find almost every type of food available and every cuisine of the world represented. There are tens of thousands of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, ranging from dingy $0.99-a-slice pizza joints to $500-a-plate prix fixe sushi and exclusive Michelin-starred eateries. Thousands of delis, bodegas, and grocery stores dot every corner of the city and DIY meals are easy and cheap to find. Street food comes in various tastes, ranging from the ubiquitous New York hot dog vendors to the many carts with Middle Eastern cuisine on street corners in mid-town. However in mid-town be wary of restaurants and bars both immediately on and around Times Square, or near the Empire State Building - many are tourist traps cashing in on travelers' gullibility and lack of local knowledge. New Yorkers wouldn't dream of eating out in such places; you shouldn't either! It pays to be adventurous therefore and reach out into the individual neighborhoods for a true authentic NYC dining experience!
Nothing differentiates New York more from other American cities than the astonishing amount of food cooked and served on the streets. Starting with the thousands of hot dog stands on almost every street corner (try Hallo Berlin on 54th and Fifth for the best rated sausages), the possibilities are endless. People trek to Jackson Heights in Queens for a nibble of the famous arepas of the Arepa Lady. Freshly cooked Indian dosas are served up for a pittance at the NY Dosas stand in Washington Square Park. The Trinidadian/Pakistani Trinipak cart on 43rd and Sixth. Danny Meyer, the famous restaurateur, has a burger stand ("Shake Shack") in Madison Square Park as well as a new location on the upper west side. The halal offerings in midtown are legendary (Kwik-Meal on 45th and Sixth; Chicken Guy/Halal Chicken on 53rd and Sixth and many others). Most carts serve lunch (from about eleven in the morning to five or six in the evening) and disappear after dark, so look for a cart near you, smell what's cooking, and enjoy a hot and often tasty lunch for a few dollars (a meal costs anywhere from about $2-8). Mornings, from about 6AM-10AM, the streets are dotted with coffee carts that sell coffee, croissants, bagels, and danish pastries and are good for a cheap breakfast: small coffee and bagel for a dollar or so. From 10AM to 7PM many vendors sell lunch and dinner choices, including hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros, and halal. Other street vendors sell italian ices, pretzels, ice cream, and roasted peanuts. Also, look around for the coffee truck (often found in unnion Square), dessert truck, as well as Belgian waffle truck that roam around the city.
Do It Yourself
New York's many markets and grocery stores make preparing your own food interesting and easy. Almost every grocery store, deli, or bodega has a prepared foods section where you can make your own salad (beware, you are charged by the pound!) or buy ready to eat foods such as burritos, tacos, curries and rice, lasagna, pastas, pre-prepared or freshly-made sandwiches, and many other types of foods. Whole Foods has five New York City locations, all with a variety of foods, and a clean place to sit and eat but any supermarket will have enough to take away to the park or your hotel room for a low cost meal. If you have a place to cook, you'll find almost any kind of food in New York though you may have to travel to the outer boroughs for ethnic ingredients. Most supermarkets have Thai, Chinese, and Indian sauces to add flavor to your pot, and many, especially in upper Manhattan, have the ingredients necessary for a Mexican or Central American meal, but go to Chinatown for the best Chinese ingredients, Little India in Murray Hill for Indian ingredients, Flushing for all things Chinese or Korean, Jackson Heights for Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Indian, Flatbush and Crown Heights for Jamaican, Williamsburg for Kosher, Greenpoint for Polish, or Brighton Beach for Russian & Eastern European. Ask around for where you can get your favorite ethnic ingredients and you'll find traveling around in local neighborhoods a rewarding experience. There is also a Trader Joe's at unnion Square for cheap but delicious supermarket buys. Western Beef Supermarkets offer more foods from different ethnicities than average supermarkets.